about what place music has in his life Greg Trooper says, "Music is the thing
that makes me want to get up and work. I've tried to do other things
occasionally, but always, always, always, my real passion is listening to,
making and writing music." On his latest release, Upside-Down
Town, Trooper shares twelve of his latest creations with the world.
Born and raised in Little Silver, New Jersey,
Trooper learned to play guitar about the same time he learned to surf. Only a
short bus ride away from NYC, Trooper also spent a good part of his youth
attending concerts in the Big Apple. "I went to the Concert For Bangladesh, I
saw Merle Haggard, Happy and Artie Traum, and Patti Smith…I drank all that
stuff up." His music displays a wide variety of influences – bluesy
inflections from R&B coupled with rootsy country melodies and arrangements.
Trooper released his first album in 1986, We
Won't Dance, followed by Everywhere
in 1992. Noises in the Hallway
came out in 1995, and in 1998 Buddy Miller produced Trooper's Popular
Demons. In 2003 Trooper released his first album on the Sugar Hill
label, Floating, which has been in
heavy rotation on my iTunes' playlists since I first heard it. Dan Pen
produced Trooper's second Sugar Hill release, Making
it Through This World, which brings us to Trooper's latest Upside-Down
Town, on 52 Shakes Records.
Trooper handles most of the acoustic guitar parts
on Upside-Down Town, but veteran
guitar-slinger Michael McAdam adds slide and electric guitar. Co-produced by
Trooper, keyboardist Kevin McKendree, and bassist Stewart Lerman, the album's
arrangements are designed to let the songs breathe. "First True Love"
features Trooper's fingerpicked guitar augmented by a spare bass line and
minimalist piano and electric guitar.
Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, Maura O'Connell, Vince
Gill, Robert Earl Keen, and Lucy Kaplansky have recorded Greg Trooper's songs.
One listen to Upside-Down Town and
you'll know why.